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Phyllis Smallman

Ellis Award I've been addicted to mysteries since childhood; from Trixie Belden to Agatha Christie, I loved them all. They explained what happens when greed, love,and jealousy get out of hand. More than that, they showed me worlds far from my own small place in southern Ontario. And who doesn't love a puzzle?

Mysteries are the great epics of our time, a hero risking his own life to discover truth, right a wrong, or deal out justice. They explore the human mind and condition, but most of all they hold up a mirror to the society we live in, warts and all. We see characters we hope never to encounter in our real lives, wife beaters, rapists, thieves and psychopaths, people we are only too aware exist in the real world.

The best mysteries really aren't just about crime. Very often, the stories are about those left to deal with the fallout of evil and how they cope. A story set in the modern world necessarily deals with the problems of everyday life, with mental illness, addiction and all those other problems we encounter daily as individuals.

These days, my favorite mystery is always the one I'm currently working on because I basically write to amuse myself. I write the books I like to read, with characters I'd like to meet - well I'd like to meet some of the people in my books. Because I never quite get it right, I always have to go back and do it again. But it's lovely if someone else enjoys my stories.

For me, writing is imagination coming out to play with memory. Sherri Travis is a woman haunted by memories. Set along the mangrove coast of Florida, Sherri's stories weave in and out of bars, beaches and swamps, the narrative of an ordinary person, caught up in extraordinary circumstances. In a place where the very rich live next door to the very poor, where tourists come and go, and newcomers reinvent themselves, reality blurs with the shifting tides, and all good stories begin, "One night in a bar..."


I love to chat with book clubs and library book groups on Skype.
To schedule a talk please contact me by email.
See my contact page.

Writing on Salt Spring Island

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